In response to any major or minor relational type of crisis, questions are inevitable. God’s Word says to “Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be answered.” In this writer’s humble opinion, if a person does not understand something, always ask questions.
If a given resource either will not, or cannot offer a needed answer, go somewhere else. One cannot get answers if one does not ask. Never feel any question is too small or too insignificant.
The only dumb question this writer has ever seen, has been the one that has not been asked. Any question a person has is important, therefore, if an answer can be found, one should be willing to keep seeking until at least a partial understanding is gained.
Understanding does not always come at one time, most of the time, it comes as a series of questions are asked and answered.
So many questions have come from people who really need help, but do not know where to begin. Their world has been turned upside, and understandably, they are so upset, they do not know what has happened, or what they are going to do.
The first thing I usually tell them is to breathe, calm down, it is going to be OK, then, in response to questions, begin explaining what is happening within their spouse.
People ask many things out of fear; they do not know which way to turn. Some do not know what to ask, they just want to know if they can possibly salvage their marriage, and if so, how they can achieve this goal.
I have answered many questions over the years, including:
• Can I save my marriage?
• Was there something wrong with me?
• Did I “cause” this to happen?
• Is there anything I can do to turn it all back to the way things used to be? I want my marriage back!
• Why is he/she doing this to me?
What drives these examples is the tendency people have to internalize what has been done, taking the event personally. They also wonder if there is something, anything that can be done to “push” the mid-life spouse through their crisis. Often, because of their own fear, the intent is to hopefully force the spouse in crisis through as soon as humanly possible. They even think to “make” the spouse in crisis “straighten up”, so their lives can be resumed as they were before this inconvenience happened.
People really do not understand at first, what they want is not going to happen; change had already begun from the time of the unwanted emotional bomb. They want advice that will support and justify their decisions. They feel like they need to end their marriage, but out of the same fear, that has already rooted them to the spot, they hesitate. They want someone to give some indication things will be all right, they ask for hope, they ask for a shoulder. They want someone to just listen to them, and understand the place they are coming from.
They also look for “fixing”, a “magic pill”, something they can have “right now”, and are disappointed when none of these things are an option. Therefore, they ask many different questions in an effort to understand what is happening.
Here are five very common questions I have been asked by people from all walks of life:
Did I do anything to cause the mid-life crisis to happen?
No, you didn’t. The actual cause of the crisis is based on the issues contained within each individual person. The actual “seeds” for the mid-life crisis were planted long before the two of you ever met. Many people assume they must have done something to bring it forth, when in reality, a person’s past emotional experience is the greatest contributor to the starting of the mid-life crisis.
Since you did not cause this, you cannot “fix” this. This emotional crisis has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the person who is directly affected. The only reason you are being indirectly affected is because you are married or otherwise associated with the person in crisis. If it had not been you, it would have been someone else who would be now dealing with this major life’s event.
Is there any way to make this crisis end any faster?
No, there is nothing anyone can do to cause this process to accelerate. The complete resolution of the crisis is up to the people who are facing this for themselves. This is one of the most confusing aspects of the mid-life crisis, and full resolution lies only within the control of the person going through. Even though people can exert some influence, there does come a time when one must learn to step back, let go, and let God deal with the situation.
Can I get medical help for my spouse in crisis so it can be cured?
Simply put, it is not a diagnosed or even medically recognizable disease, and as it stands, it never will be. The mid-life crisis is an unhealthy mixture of various physiological, and psychological disorders; each of these disorders often require different treatment. The mid-life crisis cannot be “fixed” or “cured” with medicine. This time of life is not a broken ankle, nor a cold or flu.
The person in crisis, does not want help, and try as you might, you cannot help them unless they choose help for themselves.
This is an emotional developmental phase, which involves a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual battle within that must be completed. Whether this finishes or continuing aspects remain to be finished, is not in the control of anyone, but the person that is directly facing this. Years ago, those same questions were asked and answered, and medical science sees the various components of a mid-life crisis as separate entities.
If the person going through the crisis sees a medical doctor they would be treated for depression, or even a hormonal imbalance, if the blood tests are done at a right time. If they choose to go to a counselor or psychiatrist, they would most likely be diagnosed with depression, plus, schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, paranoia, passive aggressive type behaviors, and the list goes on.
If the person in crisis consents to treatment, there is no guarantee they will take their medicine on schedule, nor any guarantee of a cure. Because of the differing mental, emotional and often physical factors involved, the medicine will help, but it will not remove the symptoms completely. It will only make it easier to cope with some of the discomfort associated with the mental and emotional growth, and the physical changes encountered during this time.
Assuming my spouse finishes the crisis, what kind of changes should I expect?
If this mid-life transitional process is allowed to complete as it should, your spouse would not be the only one who changes, grows and becomes a better person as a result of this experience, you would not be the same either. There will be internal and external changes that should occur within each person that completes this process. Within each person’s time of “repackaging” themselves, they will have acquired some new habits, while leaving certain old habits behind.
As perception and perspective matures within both people, certain habits may remain, but these will become neither right nor wrong, they will just be what they are. Each person is different in how they will perceive their changed spouse as the crisis winds down, and comes to an end.
For what it’s worth, both people in a given relationship are called upon to make changes, for and within themselves, completing their individual growth, albeit at different times. These two journeys are truly linked together, taken separately, but designed to bring the couple back together in the end, if both are willing to stay together for the duration and beyond.
The emotional immaturity that was so evident earlier in the process gives way to a more mature consideration of others, learning to love in a way never known or seen before, emotional boundaries are learned, and the issues within are resolved fully.
That is not to say that change, growth and becoming within will end upon the exit from the mid-life crisis. These aspects will continue for life, using the emotional tools that were gained during this experience. The end result should be a more mellow, laid back, stronger, mature, and more resolute person. They will be more capable of giving and receiving love, deeply committed, satisfied with life, and settled in a way not before seen.
What if they do not finish the mid-life crisis, what happens then?
If a person going through a mid-life crisis does not finish, they will remain within its grasp until they realize nothing they have tried on the outside will solve the problems that remain on the inside. They must learn that every answer they are seeking is contained within themselves. This realization is not an easy one to come to, but this is necessary in order for them to eventually resolve themselves.
Partial resolution is possible, but until a person fully resolves themselves, additional times of emotional crisis will come forth. It all depends on them, and their willingness to face, resolve, and eventually heal themselves.
To put this another way, the mid-life crisis demands to be completed in full, or within crisis they will remain. What that means is they will face every stage/phase, no emotional “stone” is left unturned. However, there are certain aspects within a stage/phase one may not see/face/experience, depending upon each given situation.
As each person is different, each mid-life crisis is different. What one will do, another will not.
The mid-life crisis is truly an unforgiving task master; harsh at times, yet, most rewarding at the end. The only way out is through, and in this process they must fully face, resolve and heal the issues within that drew them into this emotional storm.
In closing, I sincerely hope the questions and the answers given will help you understand at little more about the mid-life crisis. My ongoing goal is to try and help increase understanding so people will not feel they are the only ones facing such a difficult time.
Time, love, patience, and hope are major factors in surviving your spouse’s mid-life crisis. You are not alone, for God continues to be with each and every one of you.
Until next time! 🙂